Legends of the lycanthrope, more popularly known as werewolf, have dated back to the Middle ages. Lycanthropy refers to the transformation of the wolf into a man. The legend of a werewolf describes the transformation only occurring during a full moon while other versions of the legend say man can turn into a wolf at free will. Most stories mention that being bitten by a werewolf will turn a man into a beast. Some, however, believe that man could become a werewolf through devil worship and performing black magic. This was an ancient belief that is far less common today. The human form, no matter how well mannered, would turn into a bloodthirsty beast. Werewolves possess augmented senses such as a powerful sense of smell and also have incredible speed.
It was believed that a silver bullet to the heart would kill a werewolf. Mercury can also be used as it is said to have similar qualities to silver. Decapitation and heart removal are other possible — yet more difficult — forms of killing. In some tales, the werewolf may be killed by another werewolf.
Science has been proposing realistic explanations for the origin of the werewolf legend. In medieval times, rabies was more prevalent and was not immediately treated. Rabies victims manifest similar werewolf symptoms. These include foaming at the mouth, fear of water, and marked aggression. The rabies virus is also transmitted through an animal or human bite. This could have mistakenly been associated as a wolf transformation, in ancient times.
These legends may stem from a fear of human’s true animalistic nature and the possibility that at any time, civilized humans could revert to their violent animal behavior. Motion pictures have portrayed werewolves as good unfortunate heroes who don’t want to tear the throats out of their victims, to evil-from-the-core sadistic murders. Jacob Black in the Twilight saga is a good teen who was going to turn to a werewolf whether he like it or not. Sometimes, when listening to the evening news, becoming witnesses to the cruelty one human has unleashed against another, the question arises: did we already revert but haven’t yet accepted the fact???